Eve Online Exploration Guide 2019

Exploration in Eve Online

As a new player, one of the first things you can try out in Eve Online is exploration. Exploration is the act of searching for, scanning down, entering and completing cosmic signature sites. Getting started with exploration is easy enough. but to become a successful explorer you need to understand the differences between the cosmic signatures, how to scan them down and what skills will help you do that.

What Do I Need to Start Scanning and Exploring?

Exploration is an activity that you can get yourself into rather fast. The bare minimum that I recommend is the following

    • A T1 exploration frigate ( Magnate, Heron, Imicus or Probe).
    • Expanded probe launcher.
    • Data Analyzer.
    • Relic Analyzer.
  • Core Probes

The skills needed for this setup are the following:

    • Racial frigate I
    • Astrometrics I
    • Science III
    • Hacking I
    • Electronics Upgrades III
    • CPU Management II
    • Power Grid Management II
    • Archaeology I
  • Survey III

And that’s it. You just need to fit your chosen racial frigate with those modules and off you go for some high sec exploration. The first step, scanning down a cosmic anomaly.

Another thing that is highly useful to be able to do is to create safe spots. Making safe spots is really easy, but hard to explain with text. If you don’t already know how to make a safe spot then this safe spot tutorial can show you how.

What are Cosmic Signatures?

Cosmic signatures can be found in every corner of Eve Online. The easiest way to see if a system has scannable cosmic signatures is to open the probe scanner, found near the bottom middle of your screen, and see there. Below you can see what pops up when you press the probe scanner button. As you can see, at that moment, Hisoufad had 2 cosmic signatures and 5 cosmic anomalies.

The Probe Scanner interface in eve online

You can warp directly to the cosmic anomalies in every system you find them, but the cosmic signatures must be pinpointed with core scanner probes. There are a few types of cosmic signatures, such as combat sites, wormholes, data and relic sites, gas sites and more.

Combat Sites

These sites are the location of hostile ships that will attack you as you enter the site, there is a wide variety of combat sites and going over them all is outside the scope of this guide. Usually, when you have completed the site you find some reward worth the effort, depending on the sec status of the system you are in.


Wormholes are cosmic signatures that lead you to a wormhole which opens up into W-space (a common name for the systems inside wormholes) or a different part of known space. Wormholes deserve an entire guide on their own as using a wormhole or living inside it is an adventure on its own.

Data Sites and Relic Sites

These sites are the location of leftover data or relic containers. As you enter these sites you should find a few containers which you either need to hack with a data analyzer or a relic analyzer. To be able to hack the containers open you need to get close to the container (6000m) activate your data or relic analyzer and win the hacking minigame that starts. Once you have successfully hacked a container you can open it for the sweet loot that is inside it. A single container can have loot worth 500 ISK up to 150 million ISK (my record, -0.6 system) or even more. Hacking is explained a bit below.

Gas Sites.

Gas sites are the location of harvestable gases. They can only be found in specific regions and in wormhole space. You can read about gas harvesting in my gas harvesting guide.

Which of These Signatures have NPCs?

Below are tables that show what sites have NPCs, either when you warp in or after a certain time. Those marked safe never have any NPCs. There is, however, always the possibility of players interfering with you at the site. (HS = highsec, LS = lowsec, NS = nullsec, C1-C6 = Wormhole space)

Type of scanable signatures and wether they are safe or not safe.

How to Scan for Cosmic Signatures.

Before you can scan for any signatures you need to buy and be able to use a core probe launcher with core probes. The process of scanning for cosmic signatures is rather straightforward. Check if there are any unfound cosmic signatures, launch your probes if there are, set them up around the signature you wish to pinpoint and start analyzing the signal. The video below shows you how to do this.

Once you have found a cosmic signature you can warp to it and reap the rewards offered.

Skills That Improve Your Scanning Ability

the following skills will make it easier for you to scan down cosmic signatures.

  • Astrometric Pinpointing – Reduces scan deviation by 5% per skill level
  • Astrometrics – +5 scan probe strength, -5% scan deviation and -5% scan time per skill level
  • Astrometric Rangefinding – +5% scan probe strength per level.
  • Astrometric Acquisition – -5% scan time per skill level

From this, you can see that astrometrics and astrometric rangefinding are the most important skills, followed by astrometric pinpointing. Oddly enough astrometric acquisition is a rather useless skill compared to the skill point requirement for it.

Ships and Modules That Improve Your Scanning Ability

The most useful item to increase your scanning ability is to use sisters core scanner probes. They have twice the scan strength as regular probes and half the maximum deviation, but they are somewhat pricey. After that, you should get the tech 2 version of probe launchers as they give a +5% probe strength. Also, the exploration frigates have a bonus to scan strength, with a greater bonus coming from the tech 2 versions. Finally, a small gravity capacitor rig will give you a +10% scan strength (Note: you cannot equip two tech 2 versions at the same time).

I don’t mention implants as they are pretty useless for scanning cosmic anomalies, the same does not hold when scanning for enemy ships were speed matters.

Hacking with Data and Relic Analyzers.

The Hacking Minigame.

The hacking minigame is in principle a simple game where you need to thread a virus through a system by pressing the buttons that are shown on the screen. While it is simple in principle, it still requires some player skill as well as character skill at the higher levels. Each system falls into three categories, green, yellow, and red. Where red is the hardest to hack and green the easiest. Each system also has a few defensive subsystems shown in the table below.

The firewall nodeThis is a firewall node. It blocks your ability to go forward in that direction. Often ok to ignore until you must destroy it.
The antivirus nodeThis is an anti virus node. The act teh same as a firewall, but hit back much harder. Again, often ok to ignore.
The virus supressor nodeThis is a virus suppressor. It reduces you virus strength while active. Important to kill on contact.
The restorer nodeThis is a restoration node. It increases the coherence of defense systems. Must kill on sight.
The system coreThis is the system core. Defeat it and you have hacked the system

The parameters shown in the images are called coherence and strength. The upper one is coherence and is the defensive subsystems hit point if you will and the lower number is the defensive subsystems strength, which is its ability to reduce your viruses coherence.The virus you use to hack a system also has coherence and strength. In this case, the coherence is your viruses ability to withstand attacks from defensive subsystems and virus strength is you viruses ability to reduce the coherence of defense subsystems.

As you move through the system you can also find some useful subsystems called utility subsystems which can help you during the hacking minigame.

The Self Repair utility increases your viruses coherence. It has three charges which go off after each consecutive move. You should almost always use a self repair as you find it, unless it will take you over the maximum coherence.
Secondary vector subsystemWhen used, teh secondary vector damages a defense subsystem by 20 coherence each round for three rounds. It shines when you need to get rid of high strength anti-virus subsystems
The polymorphic shield prevents your virus from taking damage. This applies for two attacks. Again excellent to fight of high strength anti-virus subsystems.
Kernel Root subsystemFinally the kernel root subsystem which reduces the coherence of a defense subsystem by 50%, Great to use on subsystems where a 50% reduction results in a single attack kill.

You can also watch the video below to see how to run through a couple of simple hacks.

Skills, Modules, and Implants That Help You Hack Containers

These are only two skills that will increase your ability to hack data and relic containers. These are Archaeology and Hacking, which both give a +10 bonus to each respective virus. The modules that will help your hacking endeavors are the following.

  • Data and Relic Analyzers. You need these to hack, but the tech 2 version gives you +20 on virus coherence and +10 on virus strength.
  • Poteque ‘Prospector’ implants. These give +5 virus coherence to either data or relic analyzers.
  • Tech 1 exploration frigates (Magnate, ) +5 to relic and data analyzers virus strength.
  • Tech 2 exploration frigates (Anathema, ) +10 to relic and data analyzers virus strength.

Becoming a Skilled Explorer

As your skills grow and you find it easier and easier to scan down cosmic signatures in high sec you might want to start exploring in low sec and even null sec. You can technically go explore in those areas of space at any time, but I recommend waiting until you can use a covert ops frigate and a covert ops cloaking device. This requires some serious investment in skills with a typical fit might look like this:

  • Covert Ops Frigate
  • High-slot :  Sisters Core Probe Launchers, Covert Ops Cloaking Device, Salvager
  • Mid-slot: 1mn Afterburner, Cargo Scanner, Relic Analyzer II, Data Analyzer II
  • Low-slot: Warp Core Stabilizer + something
  • Rigs: Small Gravity Capacitor I, (Emission Scope/Memetic Bank/Gravity Capacitor for the second slot)

The cargo scanner can be used to scan the insides of data and relic containers, which is useful if you are in a high-risk system. WCS is good since you don’t need range or speed when targeting data and relic containers. The salvager is mostly for kicks if I run into an abandoned battlefield. Now you just need to practice running though gate-camps with the covert ops device and the entirety of New Eden is yours to explore.

So that’s it for the most part. Now if you found this guide useful then please share it with your friends and allies in Eve Online. You can also find more of my Eve Online Guides here.